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  • chuckula - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    Well a few things, here.

    1. This is just one of a whole slew of HP products that have been reviewed in the last few days... but HP is abandoning the PC business... so why are we bothering again?

    2. OpenGL drivers from Nvidia and AMD are both embarassingly piss-poor for consumer cards in the Windows world, and gamers don't seem to care.

    3. As the article states, this machine is just a 2500K + a GeForce 430 using different server number parts. Aside from the small & ugly form factor, it's nothing you couldn't build from Newegg parts at 1/2 the price.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    1. They're backtracking on that, and until they actually DO abandon the PC business there's no reason to stop reviewing their stuff since it's out there and in force. On top of that, I'm pretty sure two units don't count as a "whole slew."

    2. OpenGL drivers from NVIDIA and AMD are adequate for consumer cards and gamers in Windows. Not spectacular, but Quake Wars doesn't run terribly and honestly, consumers don't run very many heavy duty OpenGL apps.

    3. That's not entirely true, though. In terms of silicon, the Xeon in the Z210 SFF has some differences compared to an i5-2500K: it has Hyper-Threading, increased cache, and a locked multiplier. Likewise, the GeForce GT 430 and Quadro 600 may share silicon but they do not share OpenGL performance. So no, this is NOT something you can build from NewEgg parts at half the price.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    To go with what Dustin has said, HP is looking to *sell* their consumer business off to another company, not "abandon" it entirely. Just like IBM ditched their laptops and PCs and Lenovo bought them, there would likely be a taker for the current #1 worldwide computer business.

    Of course, the actual silicon in the Xeon and i5-2500K might be the same, but what he means is that having the extra cache enabled along with Hyper-Threading makes a difference. You'd be better off comparing the Xeon chip to the i7-2600K, and even then there are differences (e.g. ECC).
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Ever since slowly migrating our office to HP workstaions from Dell Precision's over the past three years, I have to honestly say hardware failures are down across the board. Reply
  • proliance - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    HP said they may drop the consumer line of pc's. This is a commercial product, not consumer. Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    ... and why would any company ditch products with margins like this?! $499 laptops at Best Buy make zero profit and would not be missed.

    IBM sells millions of systems a year with Intel and AMD CPUs, and they "exited the PC business" several years ago. They just happen to have Xeon and Opteron branding instead of Core and Phenom.
    Reply
  • gamoniac - Monday, August 29, 2011 - link

    @chuckula,
    This is a commercial line product. Big corporations cannot and should not spend time building PCs with parts from NewEgg. They need the service, warranty, and reliability provided by big vendors so that they can focus on their core businesses.

    So, just because you think you can build something similar to this, it does not mean this article is irrelevant to readers other than you.

    @Dustin and AnandTech,
    Nice article and very much worth reading. Keep up the good analysis work.
    Reply
  • koinkoin - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Support on the hardware, onsite is important on this kind of systems.
    Also having proper support for your application is usefull, and this is what you end paying a bit on these kind of worksation systems.
    Reply
  • kkwst2 - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Along those lines, my experience with both Dell and HP are that the service on the workstation-class commercial systems is excellent, whereas the service on consumer systems is, uh, wanting.

    I thought I hated Dell, but my T3500 workstation has been a rock and when I had some issues with adding a RAID controller, they solved my problem in 5 minutes.

    And chuckula first mentions crappy OpenGL drivers in consumer grade cards, and then says the workstation-class card is just rebadged. The bottom line is they differentiate these cards by the drivers, and there is a significant difference in CAD support and optimizations for these cards. It used to be you could hack a consumer card and install the optimized firmware and drivers for it, but I think that has been largely squashed.
    Reply
  • mike_ - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Yeah they're not abandoning it, they want to sell it off like IBM did with Lenovo. <5% margins just aren't worth the headache, and justifiably so. Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I thought BTX was dead due to the rise of integrated memory controllers (difficult memory trace layout), but it's used in this case. I'm sure you couldn't get nearly as good thermal performance with an ATX layout, which is why I wish BTX had caught on in the build-your-own market. Reply
  • jecs - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I builded a minitower PC back in december 2010 and it happens to include a 2600K and a Nvidia Q600 + 8 MBs of memory and W764. It is a great system and it was about $1500 from Newegg, Amazon and a local CompuUSA. So it is a mixed commercial PC with an entry Quadro to run 3D apps, mostly Maya 2011, but I run 3D terrain modelers, Photoshop or gaming engines with an Nvidia 460 installed on another slot (both cards at the same time). It runs very well and stable, I haven't overclocked the CPU but is really fast. For comparison it renders one image using Maya software or Mental Ray as fast as my Mac Pro 2008 with 8 Xeon cores at 2.8 MHz. But at some other rendering jobs as toonshading the 2600K doubles the Mac Pro performance (because the memory subsystem in the newer i7). However the Mac Pro is the machine I run all day and night and it is as stable as it possibly can be, it never fails and it runs cool and silent. But for 2K the HP including a Xeon is very competitive. Also the size (not the shape) is appealing to me.

    I need a Mac for FCP and because I have a ton of images, references, fonts, software, devices connected I like OSX and I am proficient using the Mac. I will upgrade the MP at the end of this year. I am thinking to try the top iMac that includes the 2600K, but I am afraid the iMac wont be able to handle all the demanding job the Mac Pro does or it may not be as easy to upgrade, handle everything, exchange HDs. etc The Mac Pro is a very solid workstation based on Xeon technology.

    An experience I can share is the BIG difference a Quadro makes in Pro 3D, it is not only the performance numbers you can digest. I tested the 460 alone and it is a horrible card for that. The Q600 produce an image in the viewport the 460 can't touch.

    I am glad I have both machines to run what I need at critical times and now I will always have both the Mac and PC combination. It gives me literally 2 eyes to try many things and I do.

    Great article and Please keep doing Xeon and workstation reviews.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Do me a favor and humor me, because I do my video editing on the PC side (I know, I'm weird) on Adobe Premiere CS5.5: how has the switch from FCP7 to FCPX affected you? Reply
  • jecs - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    It hasn't yet! because I did not "upgraded" immediately (clever me) but it was shocking to know Apple's new strategy and in general the massive complains it generated and why. Being an early adopter has been hard on me lately on both Mac (Software and hardware) and PC (hardware). I guess I will investigate in detail how the new FCPX will affect me and when I feel confident I will upgrade. As for Premier Pro I guess I will download the trial and see how it works before the upgrade to FCPX.

    On the humor side everything is working great now, thanks! but what a pain it is to discover you want to desperately go back and stay there (if you can).
    Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Looks quite similar to SFF version of the Optiplex 990. The have an Ultra SFF as well, but it doesn't have an expansion slot for discrete video. I was considering one of those as the base for an HTPC build. Only thing that held me back was 2-channel sound. Would be interesting to see how this compares. Reply
  • koinkoin - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Well what you would need is a video card with HDMI audio support.
    I got it in an optiplex 960 and works like a dream, you can get a AMD low profile card that would fit in there I guess.
    Reply
  • GTVic - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    While one Anandtech reviewer recently referred to HP as a slow moving company, compared with Lenovo, as stated in this article, they do come up with enterprise hardware using the latest technology fairly quickly.

    In our organization we migrated to Windows Vista about 3 years ago and are about to move to Windows 7 next year. The hardware we received at the time was reasonable but already more than a year old in terms of when the chip hardware was released by Intel. I have a Lenovo S10 workstation that takes 90-120 seconds to boot up when you factor in all the corporate crap and is not noticeably faster than their standard desktop. They are proposing to replace this NEXT YEAR with the "BRAND NEW" S20 which can be found in reviews dating back to August 2009 (PCMag).

    We should be getting this type of equipment and the EliteBook or ProBook laptops and higher end workstations as needed instead of the Lenovo one-size fits all crap we are getting now.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Hello!
    Thanks for the article (haven't read it all, yet), but I wanted to ask you if you can also post the measurements of the case in the metric system (mm or cm) for your international viewers. Anandtech sometimes has both, sometimes just the metric one and sometimes just the imperial one.
    It would be much appreciated.
    Reply
  • Toshio - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the article! Tho I like to build my own gaming pc for home, at work we're considering workstations like this because of service, warranty, etc. I'm stunned by the OpenGL performance of the Quadro 600 card, didn't think there was such a gap compared to GTX580-class GFX.

    Only one question: this SFF system uses a proprietary PSU, right?
    Reply
  • mike_ - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    CS5 benchmarks are all well and good, but I would reckon if you're in the market for one of these then you're in either engineering (ie, CAD or similar) or development, and the benchmarks covered neither.

    Linux performance would have been a welcome comparison also, as 7 can be a bit tiresome running workstation loads at times. Perhaps pull some of the server benchmarks out here? With something like this it won't be uncommon to run several server applications + virtual machines + development tools on the same box.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    It's my understanding some of that is covered by SPECviewperf. Reply
  • WillR - Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - link

    I know this will seem out of left field and irrelevant to most. But it's nice to see a SFF system with a CF card slot. SD and its micro sibling have almost become a de facto standard with all other card types ignored, and that leaves Canon DSLR owners with limited options. Usually the solution ends up being an external card reader, and that's frankly annoying these days.

    Not that I use it also, but no Firewire? Kinda surprising.
    Reply
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    Lots of talk and charts on gaming performance for a non gaming machine - seems like review filler to me sorry. I wouldn't mind a bit more analysis on benefits of the workstation class against consumer, and bench some real workstation apps. Love the SFF but they need to address the storage issue, perhaps I could use a NAS but then would spend a lot of time copying projects in and out. Comment to HP - it's horrifically ugly - what happened to good design? I'd be embarrassed to let clients see it. Reply
  • hampuras - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    How is this good or not for Photoshopping? Or would be better with an iMac? Reply
  • Zumzifero - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I'm looking for a nice small workstation which I'd mostly use on Vectorworks (Cinema 4D) so I'm pleased to see this review and how well this little PC performs.
    I need to move it from time to time from one office to another, but not the an extent requiring a full time Laptop (for these task I'll stick on my faithful Macbook Pro).
    I was checking HP pricing just now and saw how, on their site, they are advising about getting a FirePro V3800 on this class of systems. The Quadro 600 is available too but at a premium price.
    So far I've found a lot of reviews of the FP3800 but no head to head with it's natural competitor, the Q600. Specs worth the Q600 fits somewhere in between the V3800 and the more performing V4800 (which is full height and costs as the Q600), so what would be nest for a little budget system? is the Q600 worth 100% more in price? Overall I may still go with Nvidia since VW has problem with Anti-aliasing on ATI and because of 512mb on board, but still I'm curious about seeing what's going on in the pro range of the graphic cards
    The second question I'm pondering is: since HP is not cheap on components, how easy it is to install my own SSD?
    It's not just for the money: I found it's damn hard to get a custom built system form HP (unlike form Dell), especially since here in Italy, so being able to buy a bare bone system and then adding graphic card and SSD of my choice would be piece of cake
    Reply

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